Heron Innovations – Suspended Air® Flotation

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Heron Innovations – Suspended Air® Flotation

The Clear Advantage

About the Company:

Heron Innovators began manufacturing Suspended Air Flotation (SAF™) systems in their Rocklin, California facility in 1998. Since that time, over 40 systems have been installed in a variety of industrial and municipal applications to provide a reliable solution for liquid/solid separation and solids thickening.

Heron Innovators fabricates the flotation tanks, proprietary micro-bubble (SAF™) generators, and much of the mechanical and electrical process equipment used in each installation. Through experience gained installing systems for solids separation and thickening for wide range of applications, Heron Innovators can offer suggestions for modifying process operations to improve separation efficiency and/or reduce the demand for flocculants or coagulants.

  • Services Heron Innovators offer include:
  • Consultation on best physical/chemical separation processes to suit the customer’s needs
  • Consultation on how to incorporate the SAF™ system into plant operations to optimize treatment efficiency
  • Bench-scale testing to optimize polymer/flocculants addition and provide performance estimates
  • Pilot testing with fully equipped trailers that can treat between 20 and 250 gpm to demonstrate process effectiveness
  • Factory field technicians that can train facility staff on start-up and operations
  • Quarterly to annual site visits to review SAF™system operations
  • Post-sales support and business reviews

The first applications of SAF™ were in the food processing industry because the company was located in California’s agricultural Central Valley and there was a need for treating wastewater from a variety of food processors. Since then installations have expanded to other industries that formerly relied on the traditional DAF approach. The Suspended Air® Flotation Process can be and is applied in any application where physical/chemical separation via flotation is a viable alternative.

About the Solution:

Suspended Air® Flotation (SAF™) is a cutting edge wastewater treatment offered by Heron Innovators (See Wastewater Engineering Treatment and Resource Recovery, Metcalf & Eddy/AECOM, pp. 409-10.) This advanced system is the result of over 14 years of development and represents a leap forward in flotation separation technology.Heron systems have been shown to offer many advantages over the traditional Dissolved Air Flotation approach to solids thickening or removal including:

  • Removes more solids
  • Requires a smaller footprint (10% to 20% of traditional DAF)
  • Uses significantly less power (10% of traditional DAF)
  • Improves solids dewatering Handles variable flow rates and tolerates process variability
  • Has lower operating and capital costs
Heron’s SAF™ Generator and ClearFloater™ Flotation Separator are engineered with features that are solution based, and offered as complete skid-mounted systems, mobile units mounted on trailers, or custom configurations ready for seamless integration. Heron’s scientific and engineering expertise was fully brought to bear to create not only a turn-key solution but to also provide DAF retrofits to SAF, allowing a broader market to benefit from SAF’s advantages.

Heron Innovators 1025 Nichols Drive Rocklin, CA USA (916) 408-6601 Visit Company Website

Solution Type

  • Chemical Flocculation


  • Equipment Vendor


  • Concentrated Nutrients


  • GHG
  • Nitrogen
  • Odor
  • Phosphorous
  • Storage

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Solution Strengths, Weaknesses and Critical Indicators

Chemical flocculation technologies remove the non-dissolved particles from the waste stream typically resulting in irrigation quality “tea water”:

  • Produces a clay like cake which is high in phosphorus and with significant amounts of organic nitrogen.
  • Supported technologies include belt presses, centrifuges, dissolved air flotation systems and others; all requiring flocculants to achieve high rates of solids removal
  • There is significant variation of chemical and energy use depending on site and by technology
  • There is significant variation of operational intensity depending on site and by technology
  • There is significant variation of cost depending on site and by technology
  • Proven technology for nitrogen recovery, phosphorous recovery, storage reduction, GHG reduction, and odor control

Newtrient Comments/Opinions:

Suspended solids/phosphorus recovery technologies:

  • Produces a concentrated source of phosphorus from a renewable source
  • Include belt presses, centrifuges, dissolved air flotation systems and others
  • There is significant variation of chemical and energy use by site and by technology
  • There is significant variation of operational intensity by site and by technology
  • There is significant variation of cost by site and by technology
Heron Innovators has done work with digested dairy manure and continues to have interest in working with the dairy industry. The technology is effective at removing fine solids but due to the clearances of some of the components requires a clean stream of water for proper operation. This can present a challenge if there is a limited amount of freshwater available. In cases where there is a need for recycling water and the addition of fresh water is required, this system could prove very effective.

At this time Newtrient is not aware of any dairy installations of the Heron Innovators SAF system and therefore the system does not have a 9-Point Score.

Newtrient 9-Point Scoring Rating

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